EU migration chief on Lesbos after fresh tragedy

Dimitris Avramopoulos is to visit registration facilities on Greek island, which is on front line of the refugee influx

EU migration chief on Lesbos after fresh tragedy

World Bulletin / News Desk

The European Union's top migration official on Friday was visiting the Greek island of Lesbos, a day after the dangerous Aegean Sea crossing attempted by thousands of refugees claimed seven more lives.

European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos was to visit registration facilities on the island, which is on the front line of the refugee influx that has overwhelmed Europe this year.

Avramopoulos, accompanied on Lesbos by Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, will then give a press conference in Athens.

European leaders are scrambling for solutions to manage the tide and discourage refugees -- many of them refugees from the Syrian war -- from risking their lives in illegal crossings run by traffickers.

On Thursday, a wooden boat carrying dozens of refugees sank near Lesbos after colliding with a Greek coastguard vessel.

Seven people including four children died, and another person is missing.

According to Greece's port police, the boat had apparently been attempting to flee the coastguard vessel.

Over 200 refugees have died making the perilous Aegean Sea crossing from Turkey to Greece this year.

On Wednesday, a woman, a young girl and a baby died after their boat sank off Lesbos.

Late on Thursday, EU leaders at a summit had urged Turkey to help stem the refugee flow.

Brussels is offering aid and has dangled the carrot of progress in Turkey's long-standing EU membership talks, which have stalled over its human rights record.

But Ankara has appeared reluctant so far on the refugee plan, demanding more cash and swifter moves towards visa-free travel to Europe, as well as rejecting proposals for more refugee camps.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says more than 600,000 refugees have landed on Europe's shores since January, while more than 3,000 had died or gone missing in the attempt.

More than 450,000 people have arrived in Greece, most of them fleeing the civil war in Syria.

Last Mod: 16 Ekim 2015, 11:29
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